The risk of falls increases with age. It may be necessary to change the environment in your home to make it easier and safer to navigate. Each year four out of every 10 people over the age of 65 will fall. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
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Often these falls happen at home and can lead to serious injury. The good news is that many of these incidents can be prevented.
These tips can help prevent accidental falls at home:
- Have a qualified individual install a ramp.
- A single step should have a grab bar for support.
- Place a railing on both sides of stairways.
- Consider changing round door knobs to lever handles.
- Consider a chair with arms for added safety.
- Use non-skid pads for furniture on hardwood floors.
- All cords should be placed along walls, not under rugs or across walking areas.
- Keep all pot handles turned inward on the stove.
- Place frequently used items within easy reach.
- Never stand on a chair to reach a high shelf.
- Pour milk into small pitchers so it is easier to carry.
- Leave bathroom door unlocked.
- Never use a towel bar for support.
- Consider a shower chair or hand-held shower.
- Remove clutter from all surfaces.
- Keep a bell or phone at your bedside to call for help.
- Close doors and drawers after use.
- Place frequently used clothing in top drawers of dresser for easier access.
- Consider moving your washer/dryer out of the basement.
- Consider using a laundry bag with a shoulder strap rather than a basket.
- Be sure your doctor has a complete list of all the medications you are taking including herbal and natural products.
- Check with your doctor if your medication causes you to feel dizzy or lightheaded. Exercise caution when moving from a seated to standing position. Some medications may place you at a higher risk for falls (examples: heart, blood pressure, sleeping and water pills).
- Keep your medicine list with you at all times. Place this list close to your telephone in case of an emergency.
- Clean your eyeglass lenses frequently and keep fresh batteries in your hearing aid.
- Wear short garments or pants rather than long dresses and robes.
- Wear low-heel or no-heel shoes that fit well.
- Wear sturdy slippers that have a back (not slip-ons) and non-skid soles.
- Try using shoes with elastic laces or Velcro closures.
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